Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting

Abraham Mongkorrerre, Ngalyod Site at Milmilngkan, 1999, ochres with PVC fixativ
Abraham Mongkorrerre, Ngalyod Site at Milmilngkan, 1999, ochres with PVC fixative on stringybark (photo: Altoon Sultan)

Altoon Sultan blogs about bark paintings on view in the exhibition Crossing Cultures: the Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art, on view through March 10, 2013.

Sultan writes: "The bark paintings are made by the indigenous peoples of Northern Australia, using natural pigments for their paints. The patterns and images are all deeply symbolic of land and history and culture; a wall label describes them as 'metaphysical landscapes.' The iconography of Manirrkki's painting is described as invoking 'sequences of songs, dances, colors, and body designs used in closed ceremonies that are anchored to specifics of place.' ...The combination of brilliant painting with a depth of meaning tied to ancient traditions makes these works remarkably compelling."